The North is increasingly becoming ungovernable. The authorities have to move fast
The spate of violence in the North has risen to an alarming level and something must be done urgently to arrest this dangerous trend. A day hardly passes without reports of suicide bombings, gruesome killings or wanton destruction of property. From communal clashes to ethno-religious killings, the story of the North is now being told in terms of statistics of violent deaths, hostage-taking and the pains of internally displaced persons as a result of deadly clashes. From Yobe to Borno, Plateau, Bauchi, Kano, Benue, Taraba and Gombe, reports of armed attacks and gruesome killings are now commonplace.
What has, however, become rather worrisome is the seeming helplessness of the security agencies in addressing this problem. In the last one month alone, there have been an unbroken chain of armed attacks claiming scores of lives. In Wukari area of Taraba State for instance, 30 people were reportedly killed about a week ago in a religious crisis that also left hundreds of residential buildings, business premises and worship centers destroyed.
Within the same period, gunmen numbering about 30 also attacked Beni village in Dansadau Emirate of Maru Local Government area of Zamfara State killing seven people and injuring several others. Another group of gunmen attacked a community in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State, killing five persons and injuring many others.
About two weeks ago, 10 members of the same family, including a two-month-old baby, were hacked to death at Koghum village in Vwang District of Jos South Council of Plateau State as they were meeting on how to bury their deceased grandmother. A week before then, unknown gunmen attacked and killed three people in their farms around Kassa Village in Barkin Ladi area of Plateau State.
Also, in two separate attacks in Kano, unknown gunmen shot dead nine female health workers carrying-out immunisation exercise. In the Northeast state of Yobe, three North Korean doctors were killed by yet-to-be identified gunmen in Potiskum. Two of the doctors had their throats slit while the third was said to have been beheaded.
At Sambisa Reserve along Maiduguri - Bama Road, six park rangers were killed by gunmen in a reprisal attack. A week before then, soldiers, backed by helicopter gunships, had destroyed the training camps of a militant religious sect and killed 17 militants at the game reserve.
A two-day crisis recently between Utange and Mbayion communities in Katsina -Ala Local Government Area of Benue State claimed six lives and destroyed property worth millions of naira. There was also the killing of a security guard and abduction of eight foreigners working for a construction company, Setraco Nig Ltd, in Jamaare, Bauchi State by unidentified gunmen, who burnt down the police station and also attempted to free prisoners in the area.
Apart from the alarming death tolls, these deadly attacks have also crippled the economy of most states in the region. This fact was chillingly attested to last weekend by former Defence Minister, Lt. General T.Y. Danjuma. Yet tackling this challenge is a key constitutional requirement of state as the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy clearly states that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.
We therefore call on the federal and all the state governments to arrest this rapid and steady slide into anarchy by addressing all conditions that make violent attacks tools of expressing dissenting voices or strategies for political engagement. We also enjoin the relevant authorities to devise effective conflict resolution mechanisms, create an early warning system that would alert of a brewing crisis, equip security agencies with modern intelligence gathering tools and promote policies that would ensure peaceful coexistence and social harmony. Community and religious leaders must also rise to the occasion by contributing positively to the efforts toward tackling these security challenges confronting the region.